STAR Spotlight: Heather Rollings

We love stories of amazing teachers and the work that you are doing in classrooms and with children across the globe. Check out this great story of a teacher who inspires us, and the teachers and students in South Carolina’s Rock Hill School District, every day.

Meet Heather Rollings! 

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After teaching in the classroom for nine years, Heather Rollings currently supports Rock Hill School District’s iRock initiative as an Instructional Technology Specialist. Showing teachers how to integrate technology into their core curriculum to enhance critical thinking skills is both challenging and rewarding. She is grateful for the opportunities Discovery Ed provides as she continues her journey as a life-long learner.

Learn & share with her on Twitter - @hrollings4

 

Her Story: 

Last summer, we were invited to teach in China for an international teaching conference.  With no curriculum or standards given to design our lessons, I panicked.  The only guidelines: “Model American strategies in an American setting (to 30 non-English speaking students in two different cities).  This involved me replicating my classroom from the iPads, tables, and chairs to the posters, magnets, and markers.  We had to submit lesson plans, supply lists, and presentations on Inquiry and CBL months in advance so they could be translated prior to our arrival.

They explained that while we taught, a camera crew would record and stream the lessons to an audience of 250-300 educators.  Afterwards, lessons would be critiqued by the participating students and professors from around the world….no big deal, right??  In all honesty, I don’t think I would have ever had the guts or confidence to do any of this if I hadn’t been integrating meaningful digital resources in my classroom curriculum for two years leading up to the opportunity.

So we get to China, visit the school, meet the children, and set up the classrooms (iPads included) all in the first day; at which time I also learn that the MAIN resource I’d planned to use for my “Energy Conservation” unit was not accessible.  What was I going to do??  

With about 10 hours to modify and adjust my lesson before teaching in front of hundreds, I did what anyone would have done – stayed up all night to record myself modeling renewable energy resources using a solar paneled car, miniature wind turbines, and my Conair hair dryer.  The good news – - I had JUST completed this unit with my own 4th grade students and knew the resources I had planned to use fairly well; or at least well enough to get by with a non-English speaking audience.  The bad news – - -  after working so hard all day, we were exhausted.  My roommate didn’t have to modify her plans, which meant whatever I decided to do, had to be done quietly.  Hence the reason my “flipped” energy lessons ended up being recorded on a VERY questionable hotel bathroom floor in Beijing.

Thankfully, the dirt and debris did not detract from the student engagement.  The kids were totally intrigued by my makeshift energy videos.  As I circled the room, the conversations (which I understood almost none of) were going about a mile a minute with fingers pointing and eyes bulging. And while this day will go down as one of the most rewarding teaching experiences in my life, I often wonder: How amazing would it be if the children in Beijing and Hefei had access to high-quality resources (that were not created on a bathroom floor) each and every day?  

 

 

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